Dr. Deming provides a historical overview as example of why we cannot take consensus as dogma. Science is never settled. Lord Kelvin’s model withstood decades of challenge. Only when an unknown factor was shown to be present and frustrating Kelvin’s calculations, did his age of the earth fall.
I’ve heard young-earth adherents claim this incident in defense of their own fantasy that the earth is less than 10,000 years. Sorry, but it just won’t work. The earth is four-and-a-half billions of years old, and the universe on the whole is roughly 13 billion. No getting around it.
We pretend motivation doesn’t matter, or more plainly, ulterior motives. Motives drive everything we do. If our only motive is truth, we tend to try to disprove ourselves so as to not fool ourselves.
That is not usually the case. I have seen my whole life that most people would rather remain wrong that be corrected. Pain is the only true persuader.
Stay committed to truth. Being corrected, no matter how painful, is always better than remaining wrong.
Guest essay by Dr. David Deming
The world stands on the verge of committing itself to limits on the emission of carbon dioxide that would drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels. If this fateful decision is made, the economies of developed nations will be strangled. Human prosperity will be reduced. Our ability to solve pressing problems, both human and environmental, will be severely limited. We have been told that these shackles must be imposed to forestall a hypothetical global warming projected to occur some time in the distant future. But to date the only unambiguous evidence for planetary warming is a modest rise in temperature (less than one degree Celsius) that falls well within the range of natural variation.
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